Tag Archives: Boston

Axe-Throwing Adventures in Boston!


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Running a regular bar just doesn’t cut it in 2018.  You have to really get creative on strategies for a unique feature that would draw a big crowd.  Rotating craft beers and special cocktails can only get you so far, but the real trick is keeping your customers around longer.

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To combat this common issue, many bars or restaurants established fun events happening each week.  Various tactics restaurant businesses have used live music, trivia, board game night, food truck pop-ups, open mics, video game night, and even drag bingo.  Restaurants have become much more creative in marketing their business now than they did 20-30 years ago.  Selling food and beverages (especially alcohol!) are the obvious building blocks to a successful restaurant, but now you have to go BEYOND the call of duty to satisfy potential customers.

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The Millennial demographic produced a series of  challenges for restaurant businesses –a desire for more craft beer rotations, creative food options on the menu (like kale salad or avocado toast!), and social events to bring people together.  Boston is always knocking it out of Fenway Park when it comes to trending bars and restaurants in the city.  A couple of Boston neighborhoods are getting a special bar that involves…WAIT FOR IT…Axe-throwing.

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Image result for Urban Axes

Image result for Urban Axes

Yes, people – AXE-THROWING bars are coming to the Boston area!  Philadelphia-based chain Urban Axes is opening a shop in Union Square of Somerville.  The location will provide a bar and is able to fit 80-100 people at a time.  There will be multiple throwing areas for your party.

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Image result for Axe-throwing gif

Each player throws 1.5-pound hatchets at wooden targets marked with a bulls-eye.  Players throw axes and try to reach as close to the bulls-eye to score as many points as they can.  Before the game starts, players start with safety and instructions from one of the main “axeperts” in the house.

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Urban Axes opened in 2016 and they currently have locations in Philadelphia and Austin (Baltimore will be open on March 15th).  These existing venues don’t serve food, but guests are welcome to bring some of their own.

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Other than Urban Axes, Revolution Axe Throwing will be opening this April.  This axe-throwing venture will be opening up on 69 Norman Street of Everett (near Nightshift Brewery, Short Path Distillery, and Bone Up Brewing!).  There won’t be food at first, but they are getting their beer and wine permit for the business.  Norman Street has become a growing gem for the city of Everett, so this area could get interesting this year.

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This idea sounds absolutely amazing.  Like David Ortiz knocking out another grand slam out of Fenway Park, Boston knocked out another grand slam with this incredible business concept.  Axe-throwing enthusiasts will be flocking to Somerville and Everett this summer.  2018 will surely be the year of axe-throwing bars.

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Image result for Axe Throwing Bar

Axe-throwing will become the new trick to bringing in the millennial demographic.  It hits three points of reeling in the Millennial audiences – the social feature (axe throwing), rotating craft beers, and creative food to keep them hungrier for more.  This right here is a prime example of great marketing and restaurant PR work.

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We may have to wait a few months until these axe-throwing venues open, but this will definitely be exciting to look forward to.  I don’t know about you, but I’m SO ready to take out my pent-up anger on those axes this summer (New England winter has been BRUTAL so far!).

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Look out for these axe-throwing bars this Spring and Summer!

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Boston Gets LIT: 11/27-12/1


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Welcome back readers!  Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.  I’ve spent many days gobbling down some tasty food and now I’m slowly creeping into the work mode.  It’ll be a while before I slip back into the normal routine.

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Nevertheless, MakeSandcastlesNotWar will be cranking out some juicy stories happening around the holidays!  Thanksgiving may be over, but Christmas is around the corner.  December starts in four days and the weather is only getting colder.  It’s just like what the motto of House Stark from Game of Thrones once said – Winter is Coming.

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Winter is DEFINTELY coming, folks!  With a new season comes the festival holidays before we ring in the new year (2017 went by FAST!).  Nevertheless, we are trading in our pumpkin lighting for tree lighting.

Tree lightings are a lot of fun to go to.  I love seeing the decorated Christmas tree and waiting for the countdown until the lights turn on.  This yearly tradition of the tree lighting marks the start of a warm and joyous season.

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Image result for boston tree lighting

I already checked out the Salem Holiday Tree Lighting (which was absolutely fantastic!) and I’m excited for more to come.  Surely enough, there are more tree lighting events happening around the city of Boston.  There’s a tree lighting event happening every day this week and MakeSandcastlesNotWar has you covered on when they will be happening.

Here’s the lowdown on Boston’s Christmas Tree Lighting Celebrations:

Today – Copley Square

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Our first tree lighting of the week kicks off at Copley Square.  The event goes on at 5:00-6:00, with the Old South Church bell tolling when then lights go on.  Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty will be joining us as well as music from local chorus groups.  Other than the tree lighting, the Boston Public Library will be hosting story time and candy cane tea from 3-4:30.  This event may be free, but you must call ahead to make the reservations.  Be sure to swing by the Fairmont Copley Plaza for a post-lighting reception at 6 PM.

Tuesday 11/28 – Massachusetts State House

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Tomorrow’s tree lighting will take place over at the Massachusetts State House.  A giant Christmas tree will light up in the Rotunda, followed by an open house and visit from Santa at Doric Hall.  The tree will be lit at 5 PM tomorrow.

Wednesday 11/29 – Faneuil Marketplace

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Image result for faneuil marketplace boston

If you’re in Faneuil Marketplace on Wednesday, be sure to check out the tree lighting ceremony.  The event will begin at 7 PM and the tree will light up at around 8 PM.  Blink! (the music-light show on the Christmas tree) will start at 4:30 and run every hour from then until January 1st from 4:30-9:30 daily.  You definitely don’t want to miss Blink! this season.

Thursday 11/30 – Boston Common

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Take a stroll through the Boston Common this Thursday for another festive tree lighting event.  Head over near the Visitors Information Center on Tremont Street to find the tree.  Refreshments, entertainment, and music will be provided by local groups.  Lights on the tree (almost 7,000 in total!) will be lit around 7:55 PM, as well as the lights on 80+ other trees throughout the Common and Public Garden.  This show will close with a joyous firework display over the Common.

Friday 12/1 – North End

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The first Christmas tree lighting on the first day of December will take place in the North End.  Walk over to the corner of Hanover and Cross streets to enjoy some light refreshments.  Other than the tree lighting, the North End’s Holiday Stroll takes place as well.  All of this will go from 6-8 PM on Friday.

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That’s it for the 411 on Boston’s tree lighting events.  Be sure to check out a tree lighting event if you are ever in the area (better yet, go to ALL of them if you can!).  The holiday season is upon us and Boston will be filled with Christmas cheer.

Come out and celebrate the beginning of the cheerful and joyous season of winter!

Socioeconomic Costs of Gentrification


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Roaming around the streets of Boston is always fun, especially for a PR pro like myself.  There’s so many attractions coming and going around the neighborhoods.  An organic vegetarian restaurant, a seasonal beer garden closed until the summer, and even concert halls are a few of many entertaining options within the city.  Even though its smaller (both in density and population size) than New York City, Boston still rings in more people every year.  You can’t get bored in this city because there’s another amazing event happening right around the corner.

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Image result for Boston Tourism

Boston’s trendy entertainment options are driving more people into the area (both tourists and those that are looking to move there).  Much of the revenue collected has been going towards increasing the overall atmosphere of the city.  While Boston has been gaining more popularity, that popularity comes with hefty costs.

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Image result for Boston Apartments

An apartment within the better neighborhoods go for over $1,000 a month, with some options soaring over $3,000.  The restaurants and bars around your area may be amazing, but they also aren’t cheap (no joke, I’ve almost spent $40 in most places!).  Your destined neighborhood may seem wonderful, but these opportunities are becoming harder to reach.

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Image result for Boston High rise

Image result for Boston High rise

That little analogy I expressed earlier is a clear sign of gentrification in Boston.  Gentrification involves renovating deteriorating urban neighborhoods by bringing in more affluent residents.  It’s one of the most controversial practices of urban planning that has been going on for decades (since the early 60s and really picked up around the 1970s!).  I mentioned the topic of gentrification in my post involving Denver during the latest episode of Weediquette (which you can read about here) and this post will dig deeper into this discussion.

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Image result for Gentrification

Gentrification involves bringing in the affluent audiences into the city, those that would provide more profits in order to increase revenue.  But it’s not just the economic aspect that appeals employees to set out this provocative PR tactic – These affluent audiences would flourish Boston’s reputation as a city.  Bringing in this wave of audiences would help reduce vacancy rates, increase the social mix, decrease the crime rate, and also stabilize some of the declining areas.

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But the hidden problem lies in what’s being taken out – the middle/lower middle-class audiences.  Gentrified neighborhoods mean some audiences are left out of the mix.  This is NOT good and it is creating a VIP-access type scenario where only those at the higher rung of the economic ladder will get the most out of the city.  It’s leaving out room for people looking to explore attractions in cities like Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, and many others.

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Generating more buzz for the city is wonderful and all, but it’s squeezing out some audiences from the experience.  Every audience, especially those within the working and middle class, should be able to have that opportunity they yearned for within the city.  Whether it’s the gay couple looking to move out to San Francisco or the artist looking to make their place in New York City, every member of a specific audience is searching to make their place in the country.

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Isn’t that part of our American values? Being part of this amazing ‘land of opportunity’ where we have the option to start our own lives?  This is to set out for your OWN life, not some traditionalistic idea within the social norm.  Some scary PR tactic like gentrification shouldn’t prevent us from providing that option to all of our audiences.

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Image result for boston affordable housing

While gentrification may have already happened (and still is in many areas!), we can establish affordable housing units in our flourishing cities.  Affordable housing would only ring in more diverse audiences and raise its reputation even further.  This idea of ‘affordable housing’ stands for a beneficial idea where everyone is allowed to pursue their personal goals.  Cities like Boston or Los Angeles shouldn’t become exclusive VIP access type cities that caters only to those of the Economic High Club (which sounds less entertaining than the Mile-High Club!).

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Our cities should be open to all economic backgrounds, not generate into exclusive clubs.  These tactics could make and break the representation of our ever-growing cities.

MICE 2017!


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Happy Monday everyone!  Hope you all had another fantastic weekend.  Things have been VERY spooky around here since Halloween is coming up (just EIGHT more days!).  They just kicked things up a notch during the last episode of AHS, which I will discuss later this week!

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For now, I’ve been still reeling in from another fun Sunday.  Yesterday I attended the Massachusetts Comics Expo (MICE) over in Cambridge at Lesly University.  I attended the event last year (which you can read about that past adventure here) and wanted to go back again because it was so much fun.

Upon entering the building, I received my sticker and headed up to the 2nd floor.  I roamed around the crowded hallways, glancing around at the vast amount of amazing artwork around me.  Comics, posters, flyers, stickers, and even the business cards looked absolutely outstanding.  As an artist within the writer community, I was in awe of the magnificent comics the comic book artists made.  The graphics as well as the storylines themselves really captured my attention to some of the interesting comics.

Here were some of the highlights from yesterday’s MICE event:

The Legend of Gay Zelda

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One interesting thing I noticed around the comic event was the LGBTQ theme popping up around some story lines.  Many comic series featured characters that were gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, non-binary, and so on.  There were comics that featured heterosexual characters, but it was the diverse comics that really turned my head.  A real head-turner for me was this comic called The Legend of Gay Zelda.

The Legend of Gay Zelda is an adorable fanzine featuring love between two gay video game characters.  It presents an intriguing parallel universe within The Legend of Zelda universe.  I’m not the biggest fan of The Legend of Zelda, but I loved the overall concept of a gay Zelda series.  There are no limits when it comes to comics (especially independent comics), so this was one of many series that pushed the boundaries of comic book storytelling.

The Unquotable Trump

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Another interesting comic I spotted was one called The Unquotable Trump by Robert Sikoryak.  I’ve heard plenty of jokes about President Donald Trump since he was elected and this comic was chock full of them.  Sikoryak takes traditional comic styles from various pop culture references and adds Donald Trump into the mix.  Comic series like Batman, Archie and Friends, Ritchie Rich, and Garfield were some of many famous references played out in the book.  No reference was safe from the invasion of Donald Trump!

Purchased Comic – What Happened to John Crowley?

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This year I picked up some really interesting comics I found.  While heading through this corner table, I spotted an interesting series titled What Happened to John Crowley?.  I talked with author Ian Richardson not just about the comic, but about video games like The Witness and how amazingly challenging it was.  He discussed with me about the comic is a non-linear crime story about what happened to John Crowley in Rut’s Hollow.

I went home later to read through the series.  It was dark, shocking, confusing, and even downright disturbing.  This non-linear story about John Crowley kept me glued in for more.  Reading through the letters (which seemed like clues in the story) were the only way of understanding John Crowley’s demise.

It was definitely a shocking and weird story.  Even though I left the story confused as ever, I really enjoyed the graphic content within the storyline.  It was a dark and twisted tale that had me really wanting to understand who this John Crowley guy was.

Props to Ian Richardson for this fantastic story!

Purchased Comic – The Comic Book Story of Video Games

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My other purchased comic over at MICE was called The Comic Book Story of Video Games by Jonathan Hennessey and Jack McGowan.  I got to speak with Jack McGowan, who was really passionate about the video game industry.  He loves the industry so much that he compiled lots of research into pinpointing its true history.

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While I haven’t read the comic yet, I will definitely read it during my train rides to Boston.  I truly love video games and I will definitely enjoy reading through this animated story about its rooted history.

That’s it for my awesome adventure over at MICE.  It was certainly a lot of fun and I really enjoy seeing another artists’ work.  Here’s to the art community creating a better world each day!

Colorful Craft Cider Breweries!


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Happy October everyone!  The leaves are changing and the weather has gotten a lot cooler over the past few weeks.  This is the season that brings in major changes within the next few months.  Summer may be gone for a while, but now it’s time for the many holidays that are coming up.

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One of my favorite things I look forward to in the fall are pumpkin-spiced beers coated with the caramel-sugar rim.  I wrote about this intriguing drink combo last year (which can be found here) and I still order this drink every once in a while.  Other than the caramel-sugar coated rim, I have been really into hard ciders these days.

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Image result for Cider

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I’ve drank apple cider in the fall as a kid and these hard ciders certainly don’t disappoint.  Drinking cider takes me back to my childhood days in Ipswich when I would take trips to Russell Orchards with my family.  The warm, sweet cider tasted great to wash down those sugary apple cider mini donuts.  It’s these little things that made fall such an amazing season.  Even though I’ve grown up and moved out of Ipswich, I still crave for the taste of cider every now and then.

Image result for Hard Cider

Image result for Hard Cider

Hard cider is like the grown-up version of the cider I drank at Russell Orchards, only this time the cider is mixed with alcohol.  Believe it or not, there’s actually some cider breweries around Massachusetts.  Most of them are within the Boston area and one is right in the North Shore.  Here are a few notable cider breweries to check out in the fall:

Downeast Cider House

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The first cider brewery on the list is Downeast Cider House.  Located in East Boston, Downeast Cider House features various ciders with different fruit blend.  One featured cider to check out is the Pumpkin Blend, which features hints of chai tea and freshly-pressed pumpkin.  Downeast Cider House is a 12-minute stroll from the Maverick Station of the T.  Stop by Downeast Cider House Thursdays-Sundays if you’re ever looking for something around East Boston!

          Prospect Ciderworks

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Located in South End of Boston is Prospect Ciderworks.  While Prospect Ciderworks isn’t open to the public, they do offer private tours on a case-by-case basis.  One notable cider to check out is Paradise, a cider featuring orange peel and grains of paradise.  This cider is steeped with grains of paradise and orange peel after being fermented with a Belgian Ale yeast.  Be sure to look out for Prospect Ciderworks if you’re ever in the South End area of Boston.

          Far From The Tree Craft Hard Cider

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Image result for Far From The Tree Cider Apple of my Chai

Image result for Far From The Tree Cider Apple of my Chai

One cider brewery that is farther north of Boston is Far From The Tree Cider in Salem.  Far From The Tree Cider is just less than one mile from the Salem Train Station.  Apple of My Chai (black-tea cider with clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and an orange peel) and Ectoplasm (green bell pepper, jalapeno, and kiwi) are some notable choices to pick from.  Other than their flavorful ciders, Far From The Tree features weekly events as well.  Some of their daily events include Trivia Night w/ Captain Crew on every 1st/3rd Monday and even Video Game Night every Tuesday.  Swing by Far From The Tree Cider if you’re ever in Salem searching for a good cider and some fun!

          Bantam Cider Company

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Residing within the Boston neighborhood of Somerville is Bantam Cider Company.  Bantam Cider Company is open Friday-Sunday for tours and can be found within Somerville’s Union Square area.  One of their notable ciders include Rojo, a cider aged with sour cherries and black peppercorns to create a spicy fruity aroma.  Stop by Bantam Cider Company if you’re ever strolling through Somerville one day.

          Artifact Cider Project

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Image result for Artifact Cider Project

Just west of Downeast Cider House is Artifact Cider Project in Everett.  Artifact Cider Project features six ciders to choose from that feature some funky designs.  One cider that got my attention was Perception Shift (both for its intriguing art work and the cider flavor itself).  Perception Shift blends American and European cidermaking traditions to create this bittersweet cider flavor.  You can find Artifact Cider Project on tap in various restaurants/bars in Boston.  Check out the Artifact Cider Project brewery in Everett.

That’s the list of cider breweries within the Boston area.  Those leaves aren’t falling any slower, so now’s the time to check out one of five cider breweries.  Whether you’re craving a cider with a summer feel or grabbing a cider while playing video games, there’s a cider brewery for everyone.

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Check out these amazing cider breweries in the Boston area.  Happy Fall!